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Topic: The best entry into the violent video game debate I have ever read

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Bankai

1. Posted:

http://www.brainygamer.com/the_brainy_gamer/2013/01/the-humbl...

I really recommend everyone read this. Yes it's by an academic, but it's quite easy to follow and does a brilliant job in showing both sides of the debate how silly most of the arguments made are.

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Gamesake

2. Posted:

There's only one way to buck this trend: we all need to go buy Wii Us right now.

...in my pants.

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kkslider5552000

3. Posted:

Bankai wrote:

http://www.brainygamer.com/the_brainy_gamer/2013/01/the-humbl...

I really recommend everyone read this. Yes it's by an academic, but it's quite easy to follow and does a brilliant job in showing both sides of the debate how silly most of the arguments made are.

That was a really good read, thank you.

I don't think I can add much to this discussion beyond "I agree" though. Sadly it's kinda like say, Al Gore's ridiculousness and hypocritical actions doing a lot to make people ignore global warming and everything surrounding it. The media are often misinformed at absolute best in terms of video game violence and the loudest people sadly are so extreme that they kinda make you want to almost have the opposite extreme opinion, just to spite them.

Edited on by kkslider5552000

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RR529

4. Posted:

That was a great read, but like KKSlider said, I feel like I can't say much beyond "I agree".

But yeah, after his comments on E3, it's clear that those outside games would probably only see them as those things with guns & blood.

Since I don't play too many shooters, I honestly didn't know the game's industry had such a bad rep.

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Happy_Mask

5. Posted:

Accurate, and I agree wholeheartedly.
As many have already said, video games don't cause violence, the people that play them do.

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moomoo

6. Posted:

Wow, that was great. I'm surprised I haven't heard of that site before, it looks like my kind of place.

I tend to side mainly on the side that violent video games really don't desensitise the vast majority of people to violence, although I suppose it's a possibility. My main reason is for a time I watched Jimquisition and the topic of game violence came up, so Jim Sterling brought up a video showing a certain politition's suicide to prove his point on how games aren't violent. Right after that, I threw up. And I've played Madworld, No More Heroes, Gears of War, Ninja Gaiden, and the like. Apparently, a lot of people passionately complained that they should have been warned, since it was so disturbing. Weirdly enough, he did the same topic again recently, and when the footage came, I had to turn my head away right when the man took the gun to his head. Maybe it was just my brain instinctively trying to protect me.

Edited on by moomoo

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Bankai

7. Posted:

moomoo wrote:

Wow, that was great. I'm surprised I haven't heard of that site before, it looks like my kind of place.

I tend to side mainly on the side that violent video games really don't desensitise the vast majority of people to violence, although I suppose it's a possibility. My main reason is for a time I watched Jimquisition and the topic of game violence came up, so Jim Sterling brought up a video showing a certain politition's suicide to prove his point on how games aren't violent. Right after that, I threw up. And I've played Madworld, No More Heroes, Gears of War, Ninja Gaiden, and the like. Apparently, a lot of people passionately complained that they should have been warned, since it was so disturbing. Weirdly enough, he did the same topic again recently, and when the footage came, I had to turn my head away right when the man took the gun to his head. Maybe it was just my brain instinctively trying to protect me.

He's the most logical thinker I've come across in the games industry. Puts Ian Bogost to shame.

Anyway, the overriding point of this article is far more interesting than the endless debate on whether games do or don't inspire violence in human beings. There's legitimate evidence on both side of that debate.

The more interesting point here is that the games industry should be far more concerned with the perception it gives the rest of the world about it. I agree with the idea that it's not enough to hide behind commissioned scientific studies and give the middle finger to critics trying to "prevent free speech."

Rather, we should be looking back to last year's gorefest of E3 and start asking ourselves "is this really an indication of a healthy entertainment industry, where the only big money seems to be in mass slaughter?" I think not. There is a cultural attitude shift that we as gamers need to make, and developers and publishers really should be taking a couple of courses in art ethics.

That's not to say their can't be hyperviolent games, but this endless glorification of hyperviolence is, frankly, doing no one any favours.

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moomoo

8. Posted:

@Bankai Yeah, I'm in accordance with that. I like how he said when one looked at the halls of E3 and only saw shooters that even if it wasn't revolting it was boring. It also isn't really doing the industry any favors.

So I got to reading this guy's other posts, and thank you once more for posting this. This guy's stuff is really great to read.

Edited on by moomoo

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kkslider5552000

9. Posted:

"E3 is the public face of the video games industry, and it is an ugly mess. This year’s event was essentially about watching publishers run one bloody shooter after another up the E3 flagpole. As I noted after returning from L.A. last June, two massive convention halls filled with shooters isn’t ethically problematic. It’s worse than that. It’s boring."

Maybe I'm reading way too deep into that but it seems like he is not just saying that it's boring as in "people are getting sick of these stereotypical HD games" but also how kinda disturbing it is that the mass amount of violence in these games can be considered so typical that it is boring.

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Bankai

10. Posted:

moomoo wrote:

@Bankai Yeah, I'm in accordance with that. I like how he said when one looked at the halls of E3 and only saw shooters that even if it wasn't revolting it was boring. It also isn't really doing the industry any favors.

So I got to reading this guy's other posts, and thank you once more for posting this. This guy's stuff is really great to read.

He's a little sporadic with posting at times. It's best if you sign up for his email, and then you'll not miss anything he writes :)

Glad you enjoy it!

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Bankai

11. Posted:

kkslider5552000 wrote:

"E3 is the public face of the video games industry, and it is an ugly mess. This year’s event was essentially about watching publishers run one bloody shooter after another up the E3 flagpole. As I noted after returning from L.A. last June, two massive convention halls filled with shooters isn’t ethically problematic. It’s worse than that. It’s boring."

Maybe I'm reading way too deep into that but it seems like he is not just saying that it's boring as in "people are getting sick of these stereotypical HD games" but also how kinda disturbing it is that the mass amount of violence in these games can be considered so typical that it is boring.

I think that's the point he's making, yeah.

It makes sense. It's always had to imagine an outsider looking in, but if I had nothing to do with the games industry, but happened to walk into last year's E3, I think I would be more shocked by the desensitised gamers than the actual on-screen violence.

In film and literature hyperviolence is almost exclusively used as a way of shocking the audience into a reaction - it's used to make a point. Aside from the commercial failure Spec Ops, hyperviolence in the games industry is used because it's "fun." Too much of one kind of fun and people get bored. That's a problem for the industry's perception by the rest of the world if violence is getting boring.

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brainygamer

12. Posted:

Thank you for linking to my post, Bankai. I'm glad you found it worth sharing here.

brainygamer

Twitter: brainygamer

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Bankai

13. Posted:

brainygamer wrote:

Thank you for linking to my post, Bankai. I'm glad you found it worth sharing here.

I think you won some new fans here today.

Glad I could help spread the word. Please keep doing what you're doing - your work is genuinely enlightening.

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Gamesake

14. Posted:

Bankai wrote:

Aside from the commercial failure Spec Ops, hyperviolence in the games industry is used because it's "fun."

I wouldn't give Spec Ops a pass. I just unlocked the 250 headshots achievement.

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MAB

15. Posted:

So what's wrong with shooting things while creating the big explosions and stuff ;) I don't hear anyone complain about the movies... Tell me now would you rather pay to see a romance drama or heavy hitter action romp... Maybe devs should make romance drama vidiot games then we will see who gets the last laugh :P

MAB

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Gamesake

16. Posted:

MadAussieBloke wrote:

Maybe devs should make romance drama vidiot games

We don't need anymore of that particular type of game. I don't think I could stomach Final Fantasy VIII-2.

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kkslider5552000

17. Posted:

Gamesake wrote:

MadAussieBloke wrote:

Maybe devs should make romance drama vidiot games

We don't need anymore of that particular type of game. I don't think I could stomach Final Fantasy VIII-2.

Oh yeah, considering the hilarious failures even basic storytelling in gaming can be (which is no longer excusable in a world of Mass Effect btw), I'd be terrified at some writers' attempts at romance. Though, I guess we survived Twilight so it can't get worse?

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Bankai

18. Posted:

MadAussieBloke wrote:

So what's wrong with shooting things while creating the big explosions and stuff ;) I don't hear anyone complain about the movies... Tell me now would you rather pay to see a romance drama or heavy hitter action romp... Maybe devs should make romance drama vidiot games then we will see who gets the last laugh :P

The film industry has came under intense scrutiny for many years over its content.

The film industry does a far better job than the games industry in dealing with that scrutiny for three reasons:

1) It doesn't hide behind "scientific studies" like they're some kind of shield. The film industry instead actively engages with interest groups, understands their concerns and tries to act in a more responsible manner. Age classifications have far greater weight with the film industry, for instance, because the film industry is more committed to promoting that as consumer advice. The games industry slaps an age classification on the box as a token effort, and then proceeds to market Call of Duty to ten year olds.

2) The film industry seems to understand that there's more to entertainment than blood. With the sole exception of Nintendo, in the games industry AAA-game development seems to mean heatshot paradise. The film industry does a far better job in catering to a wide range of entertainment tastes.

3) The film industry does a far better job of promoting itself as an artistic medium, and therefore giving context to the violence. Think about it this way - the games industry swears that games have no negative impact on the audience. If that is true then the games industry is also incapable of provoking positive impact on the audience - deeper thought, positive emotions.

When you acknowledge that there is a potential risk to films, you're able to also promote the beneficial side of films far better. Films can make people emotional. Films can inspire people. And yes, films can shock. Films are art, and almost anyone is willing to protect the right for art to exist.

The great irony of the games industry is that it is so desperate to lecture the world that it's completely unimportant, and therefore the other side of the debate does not feel the need to protect it.

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